May 4th, 2014
10:58 AM ET
3 months ago

The 'Inside Politics' Forecast: Will the Tea Party be 'humiliated' in the primaries?

CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.

While much of political Washington was recovering from “prom night” – the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner – our ‘Inside Politics’ family was up early to get you ahead of the big political stories to come.


1. CAN THE ESTABLISHMENT “HUMILIATE” THE TEA PARTY IN THE PRIMARIES?

The Republican establishment is increasingly confident of a near total rout of the Tea Party in important primary contests. Some of the biggest come in the next several weeks, including the bids to unseat veteran GOP senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

But the establishment coalition watching this civil war is carefully using its Super PAC resources to swoop in and try to move races- either when trouble pops up or when it sees a chance to move the numbers in a way that significantly helps what it views as the mainstream candidates.

Last Sunday we gave you first word, for example, of a major Chamber of Commerce TV ad blitz in five Senate races.

And this week, convinced its strategy is working, I’m told to look for major Chamber spending in 10 House districts with GOP primary contests – from Massachusetts and New York to Illinois and California.

You might recall a while back when McConnell – the Senate GOP leader – raised eyebrows by telling Carl Hulse of The New York Times his goal was to “crush” the Tea Party challenges, including his own.

Now, establishment strategists, while still a bit nervous about a few races, are confidently using the term “humiliate” when asked about their goals for the contested primaries still to come.

2. NORTH CAROLINA IS A BIG GOP TEST

The North Carolina Senate race is one of the five where the Chamber of Commerce boosted its TV ad spending last week. Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, is the favored candidate of the establishment – and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times told us Sunday morning there is growing confidence this GOP family feud will come to an early end.

Tillis needs 40 percent of the primary vote to avoid a second round GOP runoff – something the establishment covets so it can save financial resources and turn attention to Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan.

Jeb’s endorsement this week was a boost to the campaign:

3. KAINE’S ENDORSEMENT STARTS THE HILLARY CLOCK

Politico’s Maggie Haberman took us inside the decision by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to endorse Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

It came this weekend in South Carolina – an important early presidential primary stop. Why does one senator’s endorsement matter? Well for starters Kaine is a close confidante of President Obama.

Maggie notes the high profile backing is seen within the party as officially starting the clock to when Secretary Clinton needs to make a public decision about running.

“It makes it all feel, as one Democrat put it, much more real in terms of –it’s very hard for her to step back and not run,” Haberman said.

It’s also more proof of the backlash certain to come if she decided not to enter the race; many in the party say she has been so high profile in recent months it has left no room for other 2016 prospects to do any serious organizing – and that she would damage the party’s hopes if she turned away now.

4. RAND PAUL: A UNITER NOT A DIVIDER

The relationship between Kentucky’s two Republican senators is among the most fascinating alliances in politics today.

Rand Paul was not Mitch McConnell’s choice when he ran in 2010, but Paul beat the establishment favorite in the GOP primary. It was viewed as a competitive race at the time, and Paul has always given McConnell credit for quickly putting the bitterness of the primary behind him and helping out in the general election. Now Paul is returning the favor: campaigning with McConnell as he seeks to defeat a Tea Party primary challenge.

McConnell is favored to beat Matt Bevin later this month, and Politico’s Maju Raju shared his reporting on just how Paul hopes to then spring into helping McConnell unify the state GOP for a tough fall campaign.

“This is going to be incredibly crucial for McConnell,” Raju said. “They believe in order to win this race, those Republican voters need to come back home - people who right now say they will not vote for Mitch McConnell because he is so unpopular.”

And this outreach also helps his own presidential aspirations.

It is the latest installment of a Paul coalition building effort worth watching as he tries to expand support beyond his Tea Party loyalists and his dad’s libertarian backers.

Just last week, for example, Paul ventured to Boston to meet with top Mitt Romney financial backers – the ultimate outreach to the establishment.

“They went in very skeptical and came out quite impressed,” a GOP source familiar with Team Romney’s take in that meeting tells CNN.

One of the public events on Rand’s schedule in Boston:

5. THE CHANGING FACE OF THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS

Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev is a rising force in the White House Correspondents Association, and as such was at the head table near President Obama for Saturday night’s dinner.

She took the opportunity the morning after to share how the organization had changed.

Eleven members, all white men, started the WHCA in 1914. Now the organization has grown to 237 members, a very diverse group, with about half men and half women on the board.

Margaret points out that while Obama was struck by how much the makeup of that dinner has changed in 100 years, the most interesting speech wasn’t last night, it was in 1941 when FDR used that venue to talk to the American people about World War II.

To read the FDR address, click here.

Enjoy your Sunday. See you soon.

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. don in albuquerque

    It is impossible to humiliate the intellectually, morally, and socially challenged.

    May 4, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. king

    Who is the tea party, they popped up out of no when the first black president came on the seen. their only agenda was to oppose every thing this president requested, weather bad or something they were pushing for decades. I've seen opposition parties in action, but at least those give in when they get 70 percent what they wanted. These repubs dont give a dam if they get 98 percent of what they were crying about,if they think Obama is going to get any type of credit, they will veto that thing in a blink of an eye.

    May 4, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Will the "Tea Party " be humiliated?!?! Ha, ha, ha... You're talking about a bunch of people the walk around in tri-corner hats and have tea bags hanging from their ears, who expouse extremist views and claim that they alone are "patriots"!! They have no shame! How could they POSSIBLY be humiliated?

    May 4, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Hector Slagg

    Humm,
    I believe Fiscal Responsibility is the Name of the Game. Something that has been needed for the last 100 years. The Country has a 17.6 Trillion dollar Federal Debt. Why is it that Republican Governors were elected in states that were nearly out of money and now have some surplus. Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, to name a few. Wise up.

    May 4, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Good Ole Mr. Wilson

    The Tea Tards come in several flavors. There are the poor white trash who need the right wing talk machine to think for them. Then there are the racists who are still convulsing that one of "them" was elected president. Others are intelligent and wealthy and want to hold on to every nickel they ever inherited.

    May 4, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Colo001

    All you liberals that make fun of the tea party sure do worry a lot about the Tea Party, Since you are all so dismissive of the tea party you sure spend a lot of time watching what they are doing.

    May 4, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Let the People and our Diversity Be

    No inclusion or impartiality here.

    Just more derision and promoting the power of the Elitist.

    May 4, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Let the People and our Diversity Be

    The political parties need to be charged with racketeering.

    The people must reclaim their Representation from the political oligarchs.

    May 4, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Hector Slagg: Hmmmm. Why is it that red states in general take more from the feds than they contribute? Why do people like you refuse to admit the fact that the majority of our federal debt came from GW's unfunded wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and unfunded Medicare Part D – AND from cutting taxes during wartime, which has never been done before in our nation's history?

    Wisconsin: Its projected surplus is almost all due to tax collections rising faster than expected, because of the economic recovery (Great Recession = GW/failed gop policies; recover = President Obama's economic policies). Source: nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

    Gov. Walker's Walker's tax plan in fact will cost the state $180 million and would ultimately turn the surplus into a deficit by 2017. Translation: More short-term thinking by repubs, who are too dim or naive or cowardly to think long-term.

    Ohio: Ditto on enjoying the benefits of President Obama's economic policies pulling our nation out of the repub economic ditch. Ohio has also under-spent on Medicaid, which means those in greatest need are getting the short end of the stick. Typical of repub thinking about the most vulnerable among us.

    Florida: Made cuts to important areas like transportation, education and public safety. But hey, livability, a civil, educated society and investing for the future are worthless compared to giving the rich more tax breaks, right?

    Turn off fox, Hector, and start dealing with reality.

    May 4, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Mike in Texas

    The Tea Party has become like any other big money political groups. They raise tons of cash but use very little of it on candidates. Less than 20% of money raised by the top 6 Tea Party PACS has been used directly towards supporting candidates.

    May 4, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. Mike in Texas

    Hector,

    You failed to mention what Jerry Brown has done in California. The largest state now has a surplus. Brown did it by cutting spending and raising taxes. What has helped other states is an improved stock market and increase in property values. Michigan wants to cut taxes even more thinking they are out of the woods with a deficit rather than paying down the debt. As for the 17.6 trillion federal debt look at Reagan and Bush 43 as the two biggest contributors to that. Under Obama, the annual deficit is shrinking.

    May 4, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. J Anthony

    @Hector Slag: because Republicans allow the bankers and speculators to do whatever they want. So have Democrats, though at least they make an effort to reign in the institutionalized usury that is our private-banker controlled monetary-system, however half-hearted. As long as the money-supply is created as a debt to private bankers, the nation's wealth will continue to be siphoned off into private vaults, leaving (arttificial) scarcity in it's wake. This goes on regardless of who is president. The debt is a systemic problem, not a political one. You're the one who's sleepwalking pal. Nothing will change untilthe people demand it, but first you have to get a clue

    May 4, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. Richard Right

    No matter how the primaries go the Tea Party will not be humiliated because they want the best candidate possible. The phrase far right used by liberal dems is clearly meant to be defamatory. The Tea Party is certainly conservative in wanting what is best for our country and happily stands opposite the far left which seeks a kinder gentler socialist dictatorship.

    May 4, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Mike in Texas: "Hector, You failed to mention what Jerry Brown has done in California. The largest state now has a surplus."

    Hector also failed to mention that California has the highest GDP of any state in the nation (that's about 6.7% of the U.S. GDP). California is also the 8th-larges economy IN THE WORLD (ahead of Russia and behind the U.K.).

    Yes, all those Liberals you love to hate, Hector, are apparently not afraid of wealth, hard work and contributing to the overall success of our country.

    May 4, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    P.S. to Hector and California:

    The minimum wage in Cali right now is $8.00/hour; the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. (Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum wage will go to $9.00/hour; effective January 1, 2016, it will go to $10.00/hour.)

    Higher wages and the state is STILL the 8th-largest economy on the planet, and the #1 economy in the U.S. compared to the other 49 states.

    Care to tell us again how raising the minimum wage is so terrible?

    May 4, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Richard Right: "No matter how the primaries go the Tea Party will not be humiliated because they want the best candidate possible. The phrase far right used by liberal dems is clearly meant to be defamatory. The Tea Party is certainly conservative in wanting what is best for our country and happily stands opposite the far left which seeks a kinder gentler socialist dictatorship."

    RIght, and saying folks on the left want a "socialist dictatorship" is not defamatory.

    If tea bags want what's best for our country, then why do they think shutting down the federal government to the tune of $24 billion was a good idea? Why do they think cutting taxes for the wealthy will result in job creation in the U.S. when the last 10 years of experience show otherwise? Why do they think "liberty" means controlling what a woman does with her own body? Why do they cling to trickle-down economics when the architect of it, David Stockman (Office of Management and Budget Director under Reagan) has acknowledged it doesn't work?

    Tea bags may want what's best for the country, but obviously don't know what that is. And instead of admitting they are wrong, they would rather drag us all down.

    Sorry, Bub, your claims don't hold water.

    May 4, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Hector, hmmm, whazzat?

    New York is ranked second in terms of new jobs created, ahead of Ohio, NJ, Wisconsin and others during the recovery. It would appear as though liberals are enjoying getting people back to work faster than conservatives. BTW,didn't the big Nanny State you scream about get many of those people in Ohio back to work through the auto bailout? Funny how you neglect to mention that. As usual, not wanting to admit success, and giving it to people who are one indictment short of wearing an orange jumpsuit.

    May 4, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Robert constant

    The GOP is trying desperately to move to the center, not because it is comfortable there, but because it is afraid it cannot win otherwise. The old guard GOP figure that the Bundy's, The Kook Brothers the Rash Limburger "ditto heads" the Obama haters and all the rest on that Right Wing extreme will have no place else to go but to them anyway.
    The Bush/Cheney/Rove crowd are getting ready to put Jeb on center stage in the hope he can cut into the Hispanic vote. Although the Republican Party remains solidly anti Immigration Reform, they hope Jeb can coax some Hispanic voters into voting Republican, and against their own interests.
    These Republican "centrists" want to hunt with the hounds and run with the foxes. They want the "Southern Strategy" hate vote, but they still want to coax in the people who are hated. Typical Rove strategy.

    May 4, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    They have already been humiliated to death and they still don't get it.
    Government shutdown, jobs, minimum wage, voting rights, buying elections, Benghazi, IRS non scandal and the biggest joke of them all the ACA.
    @hector, see above re government shutdown to the tune of $24B. You call that fiscal responsibility? Your teaklan bubble needs oxygen.

    May 4, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. jdalco

    If the GOP beats the TEA party they will probably lose the main election. . . the GOP as it stands now is just the Democrats lite and needs to be replaced. They ignore the fact that their "base" is conservative yet they keep pushing more and more liberal stuff. . . .

    May 4, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. jdalco

    Hey Think Again CA is losing companies for a reason. . Toyota just moved out to TX. . . more will follow. . . .CA is a failure of liberal ideas. . .

    May 4, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. don in albuquerque

    colo1

    You have to keep an eye on subversive groups.

    May 4, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Liberal Garbage

    Will Liberal Garbage continue to be Liberal Garbage in the Primaries?
    .............yes.

    May 4, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Hector Slagg
    Humm,
    I believe Fiscal Responsibility is the Name of the Game. Something that has been needed for the last 100 years. The Country has a 17.6 Trillion dollar Federal Debt. Why is it that Republican Governors were elected in states that were nearly out of money and now have some surplus. Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Ohio's John Kasich, Florida's Rick Scott, to name a few. Wise up.

    =============

    If you combine the GNP of Florida , Ohio , and Wisconsin it's less then California "Jerry Brown.".

    Republicans want pay less then a living wage . They call it a free market ?

    May 4, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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